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What is the "Oral Torah"? - 2/17/17

What is the "Oral Torah"? - 2/17/17



In This Issue
Teen Torah Talks - Sat. Night @ 8:15 PM
What is the "Oral Torah"?
Monthly Class for Ladies: Overcoming Limitation
Два благословения
The Dilemma - New Course from JLI
Teen Torah Talks - Sat. Night @ 8:15 PM
Teens are invited to join us every Saturday night at 8:15 pm to schmooze & learn about Torah and Judaism with Rabbi Leibel! 
Pizza & refreshments will be served! BRING A FRIEND!

For more info: (339) 364-9925
CLICK HERE for more info
What is the "Oral Torah"?
By Naftali Silberberg
The Torah has two parts: The "Torah Shebichtav" (Written Law ), which
 is composed of the twenty-four books of the Tanach, and the "Torah Sheba'al Peh" (Oral Law).

G‑d told Moses that he will give him "the Torah and the commandments." Why did G‑d add the word "commandments?" Are there any commandments which are not included in the Torah? This verse (amongst others) is a clear inference to the existence of the Oral Torah.

Originally the Oral Law was not transcribed. Instead it was transmitted from father to son and from teacher to disciple (thus the name "Oral" Law). Approximately 1800 years ago, Rabbi Judah the Prince concluded that because of all the travails of Exile, the Oral Law would be forgotten if it would not be recorded on paper. He, therefore, assembled the scholars of his generation and compiled the Mishnah, a (shorthanded) collection of all the oral teachings that preceded him. Since then, the Oral Law has ceased to be "oral" and as time passed more and more of the previously oral tradition was recorded.

The Oral Law consists of three components:
1. Laws Given to Moses at Sinai (Halachah L'Moshe M'Sinai):
When Moses went up to heaven to receive the Torah, G‑d gave him the Written Torah together with many instructions. These instructions are called "Halachah L'Moshe M'Sinai" (the Law that was given to Moses on Sinai). Maimonides writes that it is impossible for there to be an argument or disagreement concerning a Halachah L'Moshe M'Sinai, for the Jews who heard the instructions from Moses implemented them into their daily lives and passed it on to their children, who passed it on to their children, etc.

Some examples of Halachah L'Moshe M'Sinai are: tefillin straps must be black, a sukkah must have at least two and a half walls, and all the different Halachic measurements and sizes.

2. The Thirteen Principles of Torah Exegesis (Shlosh Esreh Middot ShehaTorah Nidreshet Bahem): When G‑d gave the Written Law to Moses he also instructed him how one is to study and understand the Torah. Every word and letter in the Torah is exact, and many laws can be extrapolated from an extra (or missing) word or letter, or a particular sequence which the Torah chooses to use. The thirteen principles which are the keys to uncovering the secrets of the Torah are called the "Shlosh Esreh Middot ShehaTorah Nidreshet Bahem."

For instance: One of the rules is: "Anything that was included in a general statement, but was removed from the general statement in order to teach something, was not removed to teach only about itself, but to apply its teaching to the entire generality." An example for the usage of this rule is: In Exodus 35:3 the Torah says "You shall not light fire in any of your dwellings on the Shabbat day." Now, kindling a fire was already included in the general statement that prohibits work on Shabbat (Exodus 20:10). It was removed from the general rule and stated independently in this verse to teach us that it is a distinct form of work and, as such, carries a distinct penalty. Moreover, this lesson applies to each of the 39 categories of work included in the general statement. Thus, there isn't a broad category called "work," rather each type of work is to be viewed as distinct. Therefore, if someone should do several kinds of work while unaware that they are forbidden on Shabbat, he must bring a separate sin-offering to atone for each type of work that he did.
A full list of the thirteen principles can be found in the prayer-book.

3. Edicts (Gezayrot):
The Torah3 authorizes the rabbis to protect the word of the Torah through making "Gezayrot" (edicts). For example: The Torah prohibition of eating or possessing chametz (leavened products) on Passover begins at midday of the fourteenth day of Nissan. Our sages added two hours to this prohibition, for they feared that on a cloudy day people would err and eat chametz after noon.

Just like the Congress is constantly enacting new laws and regulations, for the old laws are not always adequate for modern trends and tendencies, so too, the rabbis constantly added gezayrot according to the needs of their times.

Although the Torah commands us to follow these gezayrot, there are distinctions between a rabbinic decree and a Torah law. One of the distinctions is that when there is a doubt concerning a Torah law one must be stringent, whereas if there is a doubt in a rabbinic decree one may be lenient. [In case of an actual dilemma, always make sure to ask a rabbi what to do.]

Until the end of the Talmudic Era (approx. 1500 years ago) there was a central rabbinic authority which issued gezayrot which were accepted by all the Jews.4 Since that time, different communities have assumed upon themselves various stringencies, but rarely are there universally accepted gezayrot.
Monthly Class for Ladies: Overcoming Limitation
Ladies, join us on Tuesday, February 28 @ 8:00 pm for an empowering class on OVERCOMING LIMITATION.
To be human is to have an innate desire for greatness-a drive to pursue our noblest dreams, to actualize our highest potential.

In this lesson we will focus on how to capitalize on our strengths. We'll learn how to draw upon the things about us that are fundamentally good, and transcend our self-perceived limitations to take them to the level of "great"-and, considering the vast reservoir of potential within us, there is never a limit to how great we can become.

Click here to find out more
Два благословения

Однажды, по случаю дня рождения, ребецин Хая-Мушка получила от женской организации Хабада корзину с цветами и список имен тех людей, которые нуждались в благословении.
На тот момент, когда посыльный принес корзину, ребецин и Ребе оба были дома. Рав Хесед 1 Халберштам, который на протяжении восемнадцати лет был экономом в доме Ребе, приняв посылку, поступил, в принципе, вполне логично: он передал корзину с цветами ребецин, а письмо с просьбой о благословении - Ребе. Ребе взглянул на конверт, увидел имя супруги и сказал: "Это для нее". Не скрывая своего удивления, рав Халберштам сказал, что здесь - имена людей, которые спрашивают благословения Ребе. "Она тоже умеет благословлять", - ответил Ребе.
"Я промолчал, - рассказывает рав Халберштам, - но в голове мелькнула мысль: разумеется, ребецин тоже умеет благословлять, но, наверняка, в заслугу Ребе..." "Она сама умеет благословлять", - сказал Ребе, сделав ударение на втором слове и продолжая смотреть на меня. В этот раз я промолчал, потому что на некоторое время лишился дара речи. Но про себя снова подумал: "В чем же тогда разница между благословением ребецин и благословением Ребе?"
Ребе ответил и на этот мой мысленный вопрос: "Существует, как известно, два вида Б-жественного Света: Свет, окружающий все миры, и Свет, наполняющий все миры. Так вот, когда благословение исходит от меня, это соответствует свету, наполняющему миры, а значит, человек должен еще заслужить, чтобы благословение исполнилось. Когда же благословляет ребецин, это соответствует свету, окружающему миры. И человеку ничего не нужно делать. Она благословляет - и это исполняется само собой!"

Изложение Э. Элькина

Визит к Ребецин
The Dilemma - New Course from JLI

Click Here for more info 
On a Lighter Note
A couple had two little mischievous boys, ages 8 and 10. They were always getting into trouble, and their parents knew that if any mischief occurred in their town, their sons would get the blame.
The boys' mother heard that a rabbi in town had been successful in disciplining children, so she asked if he would speak with her boys. The rabbi agreed and asked to see them individually.
So, the mother sent her 8-year-old first, in the morning, with the older boy to see the rabbi in the afternoon.
The rabbi, a huge man with a booming voice, sat the younger boy down and asked him sternly, "Where is G‑d?"
They boy's mouth dropped open, but he made no response, sitting there with his mouth hanging open.
The rabbi repeated the question. "Where is G‑d?"
Again, the boy made no attempt to answer.
So, the rabbi raised his voice some more and shook his finger in the boy's face and bellowed, "Where is G‑d!?"
The boy screamed and bolted from the room. He ran directly home and dove into his closet, slamming the door behind him.
When his older brother found him in the closet, he asked, "What happened?"
The younger brother, gasping for breath, replied: "We are in real big trouble this time! G‑d is missing, and they think we did it!"
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